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It Was the Worst of Times, it Was the End Times: A Review of East of West #1

East-of-West-1

Unless you are allergic to previews magazine or your local comic store, you’ve probably heard about the newest Image book by Jonathan Hickman. Following the acclaimed Manhattan Projects comes another title set in an alternate history following the Civil War. The Civil War rages on after the Union finds itself fighting a war on two fronts. Native American involvement has complicated things for the Union and it isn’t until a comet strikes America (1908) that the fighting is “resolved” and the Seven Nations of America is formed.

The story picks up in 2064 marking the first year of the apocalypse. The landscape is a futuristic wild west. While technology has advanced, the “lifestyle” and “atmosphere” of western life has remained. Oh, and the Four Horsemen/women of the Apocalypse have arrived on Earth but with a slight twist to any narrative involving the Horsemen/women of the Apocalypse that one might expect. Death has abandoned his Horsemen/women much to their ire. He has paid for his choice though the first issue doesn’t delve into the how and why deeply. What the reader does know is that Death is out for vengeance and it begins now.

There are a few things that attracted me to this book. The first being the beautiful covers that accompany Hickman’s work. I love the minimalist design that offers to keep the story inside the pages of the book. Hickman books tend to pop off the wall amongst a sea of action packed covers attempting to use the entire space offered by a 7×10 sheet of paper with some including advertisements that have nothing to do with the comic you are looking at. Hickman books are beautiful and, at cover price, you can’t find a cheaper piece of art. Second, I love a science fiction western. Star Wars, Cowboys and Aliens, Trigun, or Doctor Who; the narrative hooks me every time. Sprinkle in a dash of revenge in a dystopian future and I’m a regular Phillip J Fry.

Fry Meme

The big question being; is this book for you? The story paces on the slower side so don’t expect every issue to be action packed like you would find in a mini-series. The story feels a little disjointed but that may come from the setup  jumping through different time periods frequently in order to set the scene. However, if we share a similar weakness for science fiction westerns, dystopian futures, revenge stories, the Four Horsemen/women of the Apocalypse, or the art; don’t hesitate to pick up a copy. I have a feeling you won’t be given another chance until the second printing if you hesitate now.

-Tony Nagel

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4 comments on “It Was the Worst of Times, it Was the End Times: A Review of East of West #1

  1. wwayne
    April 8, 2013

    I may like East of West, because I’m an avid reader of western novels. You may think they are boredom at its purest form, but I ensure you that, generally speaking, they have a very intriguing plot. For example, “Night Passage” by Norman A. Fox, “Night of the Gunmen” by Steven C. Lawrence and “The Hard Men” by Theodore V. Olsen definitely are among the most thrilling novels I’ve ever read. But, if you ever decide to read a western novel, the ideal starting point would be “From Where the Sun Now Stands” by Will Henry. It is one of my favorite novels, along with “The Power of the Dog” by Don Winslow.
    Another Image series I do suggest you to try is Witchblade. It faced a sort of reboot from issue # 151, and it’s been pure awesomeness each month since then.

    • comicreviewers
      April 9, 2013

      I definitely don’t think western’s are boredom and I certainly didn’t mean to imply that. I do, however, greatly favor the science fiction western which is likely heavily influenced by growing up with Star Wars. I haven’t read many western novels but I did thoroughly enjoy Jimmy Palmiotti’s Jonah Hex series. East of West was a fun read. Many of the concerns I had for the issue are characteristics of a great deal of first issues. Having to set the scene while attempting to entice readers and development characters is always a gambit. Hickman is a talented writer and I have no doubts about the series being anything but successful moving forward.

      Thanks for the recommendations! I will certainly keep an eye out for future reading material.

      • wwayne
        April 9, 2013

        Great choice! I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Thank you for your reply! : )

  2. Pingback: The Real Reason Why Science Fiction Westerns Are Such a Hard Sell | Musings of a Mild Mannered Man

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